Participants in the 2018 Corn Utilization & Technology Conference in St. Louis were largely interested in expanding the market for ethanol, and not necessarily in conventional ways.
“We’re hoping to provide alternatives to the sale of ethanol into the fuels market,” said Ron Cascone, principal with Nexant, Inc. “The theme of what I’m doing here is to show that there are options for converting ethanol to chemicals and materials that compete with the petroleum based materials.”
Cascone said his company can offer corn growers knowledge of the chemical industry and the energy industry, recognizing that corn has always been food and feed, but now has grown into an important fuel and chemical raw material resource. He said the analysis of operations and markets his company has been able to provide to the petrochemical industry can also be applied to the bio-based industry, which is largely led by ethanol production.
Cascone chaired a panel on making chemicals from ethanol during this year’s conference, discussing early chemicals made including ethylene for polyethylene, ethylene oxide, and ethylene glycol, and butadiene. Other options discussed included multiple optional routes to butadiene, acetic acid, and various esters.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Ron here: Interview with Ron Cascone, Nexant
Listen to the panel discussion here: 2018 Corn Utilization & Technology Conference - Industry Panel